Over the weekend, my grandson and I watched an old Netflix movie I hadn’t seen in ages. *batteries Not Included is a 1987 movie directed by Matthew Robbins. The first time I watched the movie was when my kids were little. I rented it because it looked like something they’d enjoy. Turns out the whole family loved it. I found out was originally intended to be featured in the TV series Amazing Stories, but Stephen Spielberg liked the idea so much that he decided to expand it and make it a movie.
It was memorable to me because of the characters. Real life husband and wife, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy play an elderly couple, the Rileys, who run an apartment building and café in a rundown neighborhood. A development manager wants to tear it down to make room for skyscrapers. He hires a neighborhood thug to bribe the couple and their tenants to move out. When they resist, Carlos and his thugs punch through artist Mason Baylor’s door, intimidate pregnant single mother Marisa Esteval and break retired boxer Harry Noble’s jar of tiles. Frank Riley refuses to move, so Carlos vandalizes his café.
Things look bleak until the appearance of a pair of small living space ships descend into the Rileys’ apartment that evening. They have the ability to repair anything that’s broken in a matter of seconds, making it look brand new. They even restore the vandalized cafe, putting Frank and Faye back in business. The two extraterrestrials take up residence in the shed at the top of the apartment building, and are dubbed “The Fix-Its” by the residents. Carlos comes back to threaten the tenants once again, but the Fix-Its lure him to the top of the building and into the shed where they scare him away.
I love the interaction between the Rileys. The story is touching and funny and a delight to watch. It reminds me of all the stories we watched on the television series, Amazing Stories. Cronyn and Tandy were such good actors. They rediscover their love for each other. The artist and the single mother grow closer and Harry Noble opens up and communicates for the first time in years. You felt like they believed the little space ships were actually real and they make you want to believe it too. Even Carlos becomes a believer.
I’m so glad I got to see it again. And with my grandson this time!
Whenever I think of eating at a café, one thing in particular springs to my mind…a hamburger. There are about a million ways to cook and serve a hamburger, but only one way to enjoy it like they do at your favorite greasy spoon! Cooked on the grill with melted cheese on top and served on toasted buns with mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and grilled onions. Makes my mouth water just to think about it. In fact, I think I’ll get a hamburger for lunch!